Sherlock Special First Look: What does it all mean?

Special Sherlock

Last night, having been premiered at the San Diego Comic Con, we got our first look at the upcoming Sherlock special. While it had previously been confirmed to take place in Holmes’ original habitat, Victorian times, and a couple of images of Benedict and Martin in period garb had been released this was a fully-fledged (mini) chunk of the episode. You can watch it below:

Sherlock has a pipe! John has an even better moustache than before! Blimey, there was a fair bit shoved in that 90 second trailer, wasn’t there? Well, luckily we are here to help. Join us as we break down the trailer to see what it all means…

It’s snowing… And it’s Victorian


Although it has not been officially confirmed, it is commonly thought that the special will air this Christmas time. The above shot would seem to further support this hypothesis as what says ‘festive season’ more than snow? Hopefully, we’ll get to see the special no later than December!

Oh, yes, and going by the horses, carriages and the hats it looks like it is set in Victorian times. Who knew?

Classic Sherlock Holmes


Yes, gone are the frockcoat and scarf, in this special Sherlock will be attired in the classic Sherlock Holmes look – deerstalker hat, Inverness cape and curved pipe. It seems Victorian Sherlock thinks the hat suits him more than his modern-day counterpart…

And John looks pretty spiffing too


Not to be outdone, Victorian Watson is equally well-attired, with a debonair tweed suit and a fetching bowler hat. Most noticeably, this John sports an extra special moustache – echoing that of the regular John in ‘The Empty Hearse.’

Later in the trailer, John says that he only grew the moustache to match the illustrations of his stories published in the Strand. This is the method with which Dr Watson published his adventures with Sherlock Holmes in the original stories, which Sherlock has previously updated to a blog.

Archie the Page Boy


While it isn’t hard to recognise the familiar faces of Sherlock, John and Mrs Hudson under the facial hair and hats, this figure might have you scratching your heads. It is actually Archie, the page boy at John and Mary’s wedding in ‘The Sign of Three.’ In that episode he got on with Sherlock quite well, so it seems he’s now joined the detective on his journey back in time…

Archie is an original creation for Sherlock but here he is presumably filling the function of Billy the page boy, a minor character from Conan Doyle’s books who aids Mrs Hudson in her duties at Baker Street.

‘Caught the murderer. Still looking for the legs. Think we’ll call it a draw.’


For any fans worrying that the move to Victorian times would completely change the tone of the show, the exchange running through the clip of Sherlock and John having investigated a case in the country (‘That’s the trouble with dismembered country squires. They’re notoriously difficult to schedule.’) should hopefully assuage them that the special will be just as witty and funny as any regular episode of Sherlock.

Beneath the Deerstalker


Beneath his iconic Holmesian look, Victorian Sherlock wears a snazzy chequered suit – not to mention lacking his usual curly locks, favouring the slicked-back hairdo of the Sidney Paget illustrations of the original Holmes stories. The style of tie he is wearing is presumably a reference to that worn by perhaps the most beloved screen version of Holmes amongst fans: Jeremy Brett.

‘I’m your landlady, not a plot device.’


Mrs Hudson’s criticism of John’s stories is a reference to how minor a part of the original novels the character is – she never actually utters a line in the whole canon. Sherlock is surely the adaptation which has given Hudders the biggest role, so we’re glad Mrs Hudson’s forthright character will survive the change to the period setting. As will a version of her catchphrase – ‘I’m your landlady, not your housekeeper.’

‘I’m hardly in the dog one.’


‘The dog one’ that Sherlock mentions obviously refers to the most famous Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles (previously updated for Sherlock as ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’). In the original story, Holmes is absent for a huge chunk of the action – as he is secretly investigating the case to not arouse the suspicions of the culprit. Whatever age he is living in, it seems Sherlock always likes some attention.

And there we have it. What does it all mean? Is this special just a jolly jaunt through time for Christmas or is there a bigger reason for the change in setting? Leave your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Sherlock Special First Look: What does it all mean?

  1. As you very aptly pointed out about Sherlock’s tie…as an homage to Jeremy Brett…what a classy touch from modern ‘Sherlock’….Bravo!


  2. “The dog one” was a GREAT line – I wish Watson hadn’t followed up with “Do you mean ‘Hound of the Baskervilles?'” We’re smart, Moffitt. You don’t have to explain your joke.


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